‘PM’s visit reflects Obama’s commitment towards Indo-US ties’

‘PM’s visit reflects Obama’s commitment towards Indo-US ties’

Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to US in November, the first state visit of the Obama Administration, reflects the personal commitment of President Barack Obama towards Indo-US relationship, Indian ambasaador Meera Shankar said on Tuesday.

“On November 24th Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be the first state guest of President Obama, which we see as a sign of the President’s personal commitment to the relationship," Shankar said.

Delivering a speech on US-India Relations: The Next Phase at think-tank Atlantic Council, Shankar said the next phase of relationship would be marked by continuity and would be a period of consolidation an expansion.

“We have set a process of vigorous engagement immediately after the elections of India were completed," she said referring to the series of high-level visits between the two countries including that of the secretary of state Hillary Clinton and home minister P. Chidambaram.

Noting that the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement is strong both on symbolism and on substance, Shankar said the pact not only removed a major problem that showed and constrained bilateral relations for three decades, but has created a basis for closer relations, deeper economic ties and a more productive partnership on energy security, lessening reliance on fossil fuel and combating proliferation.

Observing that India and the US have been described as natural strategic partners, Shankar said whatever way is being chosen to describe the relationship between the world’s two largest democracies there is no denying that there is enormous comfort and goodwill in relationship.

“Our partnership with the US is not directed against or influenced by any other country and it does not affect our relationship with any other country," Shankar asserted.

Responding to a question, Shankar said there is a shared interest between India and the United States to see that those responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attacks are brought to justice. Pakistan is yet to bring those responsible for the Mumbai attacks to trial, she noted.

“Besides, we would like vigorous investigation of people who might have been responsible for the terrorist attacks and who at present have not been apprehended including several key leaders," Shankar said.

The Indian Ambassador said there has been very good cooperation with the US in the wake of Mumbai attack.

“The US agencies assisted us in the investigations of the attacks and in unraveling some of the data, the FBI also testified in the trial, which is currently under way for the terrorist which has been apprehended in India," she said.

India hopes that Pakistan would take more effective action to trial and bring to book all those involves in these attacks, she said.